- People have been constructing gingerbread houses for hundreds of years.
- Make this classic holiday decoration an enjoyable part of your family’s tradition by using a great kit like the Wilton Ready to Decorate Holiday Gingerbread House Kit.
- It comes preassembled with decorating supplies to create a festive little candy cottage that will look and taste great.
The history of gingerbread stretches back thousands of years, with verifiable accounts of ginger-flavored cakes dating back to Ancient Rome. Ginger made its way to the western world as crusaders returned from their campaigns to the Middle East in the late 11th Century and throughout the 12th and early 13th Centuries. The sweet, spicy root added flavor and preservative qualities to foods and was soon a prized staple used in myriad foodstuffs.
Gingerbread houses, too, have a long history. Bakers were making stylized edible houses not unlike those known in the modern era as far back as the early 1800s. Figurines made from gingerbread arrived as much as 500 years before that. Medieval bakers mastered various types of gingerbread shaping, and even in centuries past, this tasty bread was often associated with the Christmas holiday.
In my family, the making of gingerbread houses has a relatively long history, too, though one often fraught with woe. For every great-looking gingerbread house made in my home, there have been two that ended up collapsed and consumed before ever taking shape. See, while my wife tends to take her time carefully constructing a solid base house and allowing the icing to dry and such before she starts decorating, I traditionally rushed through the construction part, eager to get to the decorations. This usually results in a house that is structurally unsound and prone to catastrophic failure.
Our young son has also yet to master the patient art of proper gingerbread house architecture, and his also often break apart. But that’s really not the worst thing ever, as a fallen gingerbread house is nothing more than candy and cookies.
If you and your family (or you and your friends or coworkers or your cats) want to make a great gingerbread house this holiday season, I can’t help you be a meticulous, cautious builder, but I can recommend a few great gingerbread kits that will at least give you the materials and some of the tools needed to create a charming candy cottage. What you do with the stuff is up to you. And for the record, eating it is a fine option, especially after the roof caves in for the second time.
Here are the best gingerbread house kits you can buy:
- Best kit overall: Wilton Ready to Decorate Holiday Gingerbread House Kit
- Best nontraditional kit: Target Wondershop Holiday Camper Gingerbread Cookie Kit
- Best kit for kids: Do-It-Yourself Gingerbread Man
- Best DIY kit: Juvale Gingerbread House Silicone Mold Kit
Updated on 12/06/2019 by Lisa Sabatini: Updated prices and links. Replaced out-of-stock items.
The best gingerbread kit overall
With the Wilton Ready to Decorate Holiday Gingerbread House Kit, you can jump right to the fun part and start decorating as soon as you take it out of the box.
The Wilton Ready to Decorate Gingerbread House Kit is perfect for small kids and clumsy (or impatient) adults. You won’t have to worry about pieces that break apart during the construction phase since this house is already baked and assembled. It even comes with decorating ideas for inspiration, or you can be as creative as you’d like.
While the finished house you’ll get from this kit is a bit on the smaller side at 6 inches wide, 6 inches deep, and 5.25 inches high, it’s such a lovely little house that you won’t mind the diminutive size a bit. This tasty house is the perfect size to serve as a centerpiece on the dining room table, to perch on a deep windowsill, or to rest on a countertop or shelf, adding charm and cheer and without taking up too much room.
The kit comes with red and green peppermint candies, red and green buttons, green fondant, and premade white icing with a decorating bag and tip, and includes, of course, already-assembled panels of sweet and spicy gingerbread. Kids and adults alike will delight in decorating this one.
Pros: No assembly needed, solid and sturdy design
Cons: Smaller than most other options, limited candy included
The best nontraditional kit
With this unique kit from Target’s Wondershop holiday collection, you can deck out a vintage gingerbread cookie camper with festive holiday decorations.
Perhaps you’ve decorated many a traditional gingerbread house, and you’re looking to mix things up a little. Or maybe you’re just amused by the idea of Santa camping out at the North Pole before heading out with Rudolph and friends to spread some Christmas cheer. Whatever it may be, the Holiday Camper Gingerbread Kit is sure to delight.
This cute gingerbread kit comes with delicious prebaked cookies ready to assemble into a classic camper and premade white, black, and red frosting. You also get three types of candies including Christmas bulbs so you can hang a string of festive lights on Santa’s little, humble abode, and three cardboard cutouts of Santa, a picnic table, a grill for roasting chestnuts, and a Christmas tree.
Pros: Cardboard cutouts included to create a unique scene
The best kit for kids
- Cost Plus World Market
Building a gingerbread house is the hard part, and decorating it is the fun part, so skip the house and instead decorate cookies with the Do-It-Yourself Gingerbread Man Kit.
Let’s be honest, while decorating gingerbread houses is lots of fun, building the base gingerbread house can be time-consuming frustrating. And if you think sticking together those walls and the roof with icing well enough that the structure actually stands is tricky as an adult, just imagine a kid trying to do it!
So skip the house building, but don’t skip the holiday gingerbread decorating by using the Stockmeyer Do-It-Yourself Gingerbread Man Kit. It comes with two pre-baked and ready to decorate (and/or eat…) gingerbread cookies in classic “gingerbread man” shape and includes white ready-to-use icing and colorful chocolate buttons. Kids can be as detailed or as basic as they’d like with the decorating, and there’s no worry about a roof cave-in or wall collapse.
Pros: Very easy project, jumbo-size cookies
Cons: Rather expensive, may need to buy additional candy for more ornate decorating
The best DIY kit
If you’re feeling ambitious and want to make a gingerbread house from scratch, the Juvale Gingerbread House Silicone Mold Kit is all you need. Well, that and some gingerbread batter, candy, icing, and time.
OK, yes, in order to use the Juvale Gingerbread House Silicone Mold Kit to make your own gingerbread house, first you’re going to need to master your gingerbread baking techniques. But don’t worry: Before recommending this kit, I researched the process by reading through a host of different recipes, and it turns out it’s not that hard to make gingerbread batter. Smoothing it into the molds perfectly every time might take a bit of practice, though.
Once you have the batter making and baking down pat, you can use the Juvale Gingerbread House Silicone Mold Kit again and again, making the best gingerbread houses of your life.
Not only does the kit come with molds for the standard six panels of a gingerbread house (two pieces of the roof, front, back, and sides), but it also has a door, pine trees, a snowman, a reindeer and sleigh, and other baked decorations. When you use all the included shapes and add your own favorite candies and colored icing, your DIY gingerbread house won’t rival store-bought options, it will far surpass them.
And in the long run, it’s a lot cheaper to build gingerbread houses from scratch than to go with store-bought kits, too.
Pros: Makes detailed and lovely gingerbread panels, saves money over time, features unique accessory shapes
Cons: Requires separate purchase of all materials
Check out our other great Christmas decorating guides
A beautifully decorated home is part of the wonder of the holiday season. We’ve rounded up the best decorating essentials for your home to make it easier for you.
That’s why we’ve gathered up the top suggestions for a wide range of Christmas décor. Whether you go all-out decorating for the holidays, or just stick with a tree covered with a few glass balls, we’ve got the best of the best for your holiday home.
Here are the best Christmas decorations you can buy:
- Best faux tree: National Tree Company’s Douglas Fir
- Best tree stand: Krinner Tree Genie Christmas Tree Stand
- Best ornaments: Shop all ornaments at Target
- Best tree topper: Christmas Snowman Tree Hugger
- Best tree skirt: Valery Madelyn Traditional Holly Leaves Tree Skirt
- Best wreath for your front door: Woodland Eucalyptus Wreath
- Best holiday inflatable: Inflatable Snow Family
- Best stockings: Needlepoint Stockings from L.L. Bean
- Best garland: Home Accents Holiday Pre-Lit Plaza Garland
- Best advent calendar: Byer’s Choice Christmas Tree Advent Calendar
- Best quirky decoration: Christmas Incandescent Tinsel Llama
Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, where are the best places to buy ornaments to decorate you so beautifully?
we decided to do some of the heavy lifting for you this holiday season, and round up some of the very best places to buy Christmas ornaments.
Here are the best places to buy ornaments for your tree:
- Best ornaments overall: Cost Plus World Market
- Best personalized and collectible ornaments: Bed, Bath & Beyond
- Best ornaments if you’re just starting out: Target
- Best handmade ornaments: Etsy
- Best funny or themed Christmas ornaments: Amazon
Holiday decorations bring feelings of warmth and cheer even in the darkest and coldest days of the year. Testing, setting up, and connecting Christmas lights can be anything but a joyful experience, though.
To that end, this year I’ve worked to assemble a buying guide filled primarily with holiday lights that not only look great, but that also make your life easier.
Here are the best Christmas lights you can buy:
- Best Christmas lights overall: KooPower Waterproof Battery Fairy Lights
- Best Christmas lights: Good Tidings Light Ceramic Multi-Colored Holiday Lights
- Best solar Christmas lights: VMANOO Solar Powered String Lights
- Best mini Christmas lights: Brizled LED Mini String Christmas Lights
- Best permanent Christmas lights: Everlights Starter Kit
Artificial Christmas trees have come a long way since the ’80s, and now they look much more realistic and festive during the holiday season.
After researching scores of artificial trees that are available from $15 to $1,500 and assessing them for issues like cost, convenience, beauty, and realism, we’ve whittled it down to the five best artificial Christmas trees you can buy this holiday season.
Here are the best artificial Christmas trees you can buy:
- Best for big rooms: Pre-lit 12-foot Dunhill Fir Tree by National Tree
- Best for small spaces: Home Heritage 7-foot Pre-Lit Artificial Half Christmas Tree
- Best budget tree: Best Choice Products 6-foot Artificial Christmas Tree
- Best non-traditional tree: Treetopia Silver Shadow Ombre Artificial Christmas Tree
Tree skirts add a dash of color and style to your holiday decor while hiding away that unsightly tree stand and all the Christmas light cords.
Here are the best tree skirts you can buy:
- Best tree skirt overall: Primode Holiday Images 50-Inch Tree Skirt
- Best traditional tree skirt: Valery Madelyn 48-inch Tree Skirt
- Best mini tree skirt: VHC Brands Burlap Ruffled Mini Tree Skirt
- Best affordable tree skirt: SANNO Snowflake Rustic Beige Tree Skirt
- Best large tree skirt: Kurt Adler Embroidered and Pleated 60-Inch Tree Skirt